Plans vs. Reality
Every Christmas season, I sort of briefly forget I hate Christmas.
This is the year, I think, that we’re going to watch "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" together while drinking hot chocolate.
This is the year that we’re going to get matching pajamas.
This is the year that I’m going to make a handcrafted Santa countdown calendar out of two empty milk cartons, some popsicle sticks, and hot glue.
We’re going to hang lights; we’re going to have a cookie exchange with friends; we’re going to have a present-wrapping party; I might even go crazy and get a creepy Elf on the Shelf!
And then, really quickly, reality creeps in.
The night Rudolph was on, my older daughter and I were screaming at each other about her math homework while my younger daughter got slime stuck in her hair.
My husband and 17-year-old stepson would probably flee the country if I tried to make them wear red-and-green plaid PJs that said, “Papa Elf” and “Brother Elf.”
I would end up incredibly frustrated and potentially in the ER if I tried to make a craft that requires both an X-Acto knife and hot glue. (“Amazon sells this for $20, but why buy it when I could make it!” read the cheery text accompanying the instructions for this festive craft, and that’s pretty much my life motto, except it’s completely the opposite.)
We’re not going to hang lights; I’m going to nag my husband on a daily basis to hang lights, getting increasingly passive-aggressive, until sometime around Dec. 20 when I will give up.
We’re not going to have a cookie exchange because I am weird about eating things other people make in their homes. I will end up baking chocolate chip cookies from a tube of dough to leave out for Santa sometime around 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and I will be baking them on the bottom of an upturned roasting pan because we will be at my in-laws’ place in Amite that I forget is not stocked with a cookie sheet despite the fact that we go there every Christmas and I always end up baking cookies on the bottom of an upturned roasting pan.
There will be no time for a present-wrapping party because my gifts will be delivered from Amazon about 10 minutes before we leave for Amite; my husband and I will end up wrapping presents while bickering from stress and exhaustion around midnight.
And the Elf on the Shelf? Georgia really wants one, but it just freaks me out, and I know I am going to forget to move the damn thing. Plus Georgia stays up later than I do half the time!
I’m not a total Scrooge – we get a tree and hang a wreath; I go to the Christmas concerts at my kids’ school and really love Lessons and Carols; and last year, I even got it together enough to get my daughters matching pajamas, which they happily wore (long enough for me to take a picture, anyway).
It’s not even December yet, but I’m going to keep my expectations modest this year.
In fact, if I can just remember to pack a cookie sheet this year, I will consider the holiday a complete success!